Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu met with the country’s Olympic judo delegation yesterday after their recent return from Rio. He told bronze medal winners Yarden Gerbi and Or Sasson that they are an inspiration to the country, and he spoke of the unique qualities of these judokas.
“Our country has very major strengths, the greatest is brain and brawn together, and this is judo – brain and brawn,” Netanyahu said. “Neither brain nor brawn separately, a combination is necessary, and this is a very great combination. To this I add something else that is important – heart. Brain, brawn, heart. And you have proven all of these things and we will support you, both you and our other Olympic teams.”
Netanyahu also said he received messages from Egypt, insisting that not everyone supported Egyptian judoka Islam El Shehaby, who refused to shake hands with Sasson after his defeat by the Israeli in the preliminary round of the over-100kg competition. . .
“Now I want to tell you that yesterday I received a message from Egypt,” the prime minister told Sasson. “They told me that after your impressive victory and you extended your hand, which was in effect a gesture from the Israeli people because we know the truth and they told me from Egypt: I want you to know, Prime Minister, that other voices were heard.
“What is important is that for the first time in years other voices were heard from Egypt. I think that this is very important; this is an important milestone not only in sports, [but] in our network of relations, which is not just on the government level but other voices were heard also among the public. Your extended hand Ori was not without response, perhaps there [in Rio] but not everywhere. And this is a change, a great thing.”